The Healthcare industry is one of the pillars of the global economy, with an estimated annual expenditure that will surpass $10 trillion marks by 2022 from $7.7 trillion in 2017. So, it is quite obvious at which pace, the industry is growing. Growth, as we know, is a function of innovation. It is something that gets accelerated when we change the old ways of conducting a process.
So far, we can say that the healthcare industry has done and adopted various innovations, throughout its recent course. Be it in medicine, treatment or technological advances, to cure diseases and solve health-related problems.
INNOVATIONS IN HEALTHCARE:
But all that we know of, are innovations in a particular vertical. These adoptions of new methods and technologies are specified for the use of healthcare vertical. The other side of this discussion is about innovation in horizontal space, in which, healthcare has not been very adaptive. These are innovations that are accessible and useful for industries across the market. Like internet, design solution, cloud computing and more such. The use of these technologies is diverse among sectors.
BLOCKCHAIN – THE ULTIMATE ONE:
One such technology, that is making all the right noises, is ‘Blockchain‘. Many of us must be aware of this term, due to its allegiance with cryptocurrency. Blockchain is the technology behind cryptocurrency, it is the change and decentralization of how we transact to exchange services.
Even the banking and finance world is adopting blockchain in many of its days to day processes, to tackle the real-time problems and reduce costs.
So how blockchain can be integrated into healthcare? And how the industry would benefit from it?
Before answering, let us brush our brief about blockchain. Blockchain is a ledger that stores time-stamped information across a number of similar files in a network, and no single entity has an ownership or control over all the copies. The distributed information files are secure and transparent.
BENEFIT FROM BLOCKCHAIN:
The healthcare industry, right now, is still very organization-centric and record-keeping information sharing along with other operational processes, are still very paper-heavy Which makes a data management inefficient and slow. And this is where blockchain will make it easy for hospitals, institutions and organizations, to process and manage data. Health records, patient information, medical claims, monitoring results are the heaviest in number, that is to be recorded and processed.
DATA SAFETY AND ACCESSIBILITY:
If all this information is shared on a public ledger or a public blockchain, then the sharing of this data becomes quite easy and will become practically impossible to tamper with, due to the technology. This anchoring of data will prove its integrity and could be verified by the time stamp, without needing third-party assistance for verification.
So, the heavy reliance on intermediaries for data sharing, that companies have right now, will be very much eliminated. Fraud and discrepancy sensitive information like insurance claims and patient health records will benefit highly with blockchain. As the encryption is way more secure than any other available technology. The basic idea of blockchain is about data being recorded and reflected with a time-stamp in a number of files across a network. And to change an entry in all the files in the chain, at the same time, is practically impossible and hence making the process of record-keeping and data sharing totally safe and unadulterated.
But, right now the biggest roadblock in blockchain’s integration in the healthcare industry is people’s lack of knowledge around the technology. But, as its adoption across other industries like banking becomes rampant, the awareness will also rise throughout. And the people in the healthcare industry, who actually want to make the industry more efficient and value-laden will move forward with the blockchain.